Mary’s Sorrows – Lent Retreat in Daily Living Week 4

This week is the fourth week of the Lent Retreat in Daily Living I’m offering at UST and at St. Hubert’s. During our gathering today, we had an extended discussion after our period of small group sharing, leaving very little time for me to speak about the subject of this week’s prayer – The Seven Sorrows of Mary.

The discussion was useful, however. One of the things that surfaced was the difficulty a couple of people had in putting aside sufficient time for prayer each day, leading to feelings of guilt. For one person, it appeared that the idea of sitting down to pray for 30 minutes seemed so daunting that it kept her from praying at all. So she kept putting it off and a time to pray never happened.

While it would be wonderful if retreatants could all pray each day for an extended period, my suggestion was to pick an amount of time that didn’t seem daunting to her, even if that was 10 minutes and to try to do that every day, without guilt that it wasn’t longer. In my view, the most important thing is to develop the habit of taking some quiet time each day with God. Once a daily habit is established, I suspect people will find it easier to sit for longer periods.

Several comments suggested there might be some source of resistance to engaging in the prayer. Confronting resistance when it arises is difficult (kind of by definition), but I suggested it was worth taking some time in reflection to see if it might be possible to identify the source of the resistance.

Apart from difficulties in prayer, the other thing that came out of the discussion of the experience of praying with events from the life of Jesus is the challenge they present for us. That is, when one deeply engages in the scripture and reflects on what it has to say to us and our lives, we may find we are often guilty of the same sorts of things we can so easily criticize the subjects of various of the Gospel incidents – the people who walked away from Jesus’ teachings…those who denied him…those who were ready to cast stones at the woman caught in adultery…etc. When we, deeply engage in the scripture, rather than (as one participant put it) read them as thought they were simply stories, we are forced to ask some hard questions about the depth of our own discipleship.

After our discussion, I gave a brief talk to introduce this week’s prayer on the Seven Sorrows of Mary. You can stream the podcast from the icon below or can download it here. (The podcast runs for 13:38.) You can find a copy of this week’s prayer material on the Seven Sorrows here.

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One thought on “Mary’s Sorrows – Lent Retreat in Daily Living Week 4

  1. Prayer requires discipline, it is really that simple. Yet, it is so necessary to our walk with Christ. It is one of the primary means we have of communicating with Him, and hearing back from Him. Yes, hearing from Him… many have a problem with the concept of hearing from God, but look at it from this standpoint. Prayer, in its simplest form, is communication. Communication, to be effective, should be two-ways. I speak, and then I listen. This principle clearly applies when we speak to another person; it too should apply when we speak to God. I have also found God to be the perfect Gentleman, He will not speak if you are. Will He speak to us in an audible voice? No, but He will communicate His desires as thoughts or impressions. When we add the “listening” component to our prayer regimen, the time passes more quickly and 10 minutes can easily turn into 20.

    Prayer does not have to be verbal. This too may come as a bit of a surprise, but it is true. Clear your mind of all distractions and begin to “speak” mentally to God. We are constantly thinking, gathering information and analyzing it silently, the same principle can apply to prayer.

    Prayer does not have to be on bended knee in the solitude of one’s prayer closet. It can be anywhere, at any time of the day. Remember, it is communication with God, which should be a dialogue throughout our day.

    The suggestion of praying the scriptures is a great one! Pick a scripture, read it, then before praying, spend a few moments in meditation, quieting yourself before the Holy Spirit and seeking His input… then begin to pray. Prayer of this type can be for understanding of what was read, how to apply it in your life, who to apply it with etc. One of my favorite prayer exercises is to pray asking Jesus why He said what He said. It is my attempt to better understand the heart of God. This is a bit more advanced, but worth a try.

    When we begin to remove the “formality” and boundaries from prayer it should become easier and more comforting. Our Lord loves to hear from us, please give Him every opportunity. shalom

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